Educational collaboration is working

Published 10:25 am Friday, June 23, 2017

For some teachers, administrators and staff, the school year never really ends.

Sure moments without students exist, but plenty of work goes on when the hallways at our local schools are nearly empty.

Activities include workshops, continuing education requirements, training, construction, cleaning, painting, restocking, reorganizing and a library full of preparing.

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This summer, more schools within the Vicksburg Warren School District are preparing to begin their first years as Leader In Me Schools, while others are developing the new curriculum and initiatives behind the Ford Next Generation Learning academies and tracts.

But in the midst of this training, development and organizing, a bit of teaching also goes on.

Students are attending camps and seminars, and one in particular seems to be at the heart of the district’s drive for collaboration.

The annual Camp of Innovation, with curriculum developed by a partnership between the U.S. Patent Office and the National Inventors Hall of Fame, is part of the system’s ongoing efforts to bring more science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — into the classrooms. That applies also to the classrooms even during the summer.

Five weeklong camps are held, offering these STEM curriculum opportunities to students grades first through sixth grade. Activities through the week include launching rockets, building snowfall slingshots, building water rockets, building a UV light circuit and more.

And the collaboration does not end there.

Throughout the five sites, 338 students participated in the camp, including 81 finishing up this week at Bowmar Elementary. And of those participating, 300 were able to do so thanks to scholarships provided by the U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC)and its Army Education Outreach Program.

This marks the seventh year ERDC has sponsored Camp Invention scholarships.

It is programs such as this, programs that seek to challenge and excite our students throughout the year, not just during the school year, that will continue to grow and build our school system.

Plenty of exciting developments exist within our school system, and some of them happen even when school is supposedly out of session.